Daniel Kahneman Quotes

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Daniel Kahneman
Born (1934-03-05) March 5, 1934 (age 82)
Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine
Residence United States
Nationality United States, Israel
Fields Psychology, economics
Institutions Princeton University 1993–
University of California, Berkeley 1986–93
University of British Columbia 1978–86
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences 1972–73
Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1961–77
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley Ph.D, 1961
Hebrew University B.A., 1954
Thesis An analytical model of the semantic differential (1962)
Doctoral advisor Susan M. Ervin-Tripp
Doctoral students Eldar Shafir, Avishai Henik
Known for Cognitive biases
Behavioral economics
Prospect theory
Loss aversion
Notable awards APA Lifetime Achievement Award (2007)
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2002)
Tufts University Leontief Prize (2010)
APS Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award (1982)
University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award (2003)
Website
princeton.edu/~kahneman/

We are very influenced by completely automatic things that we have no control over, and we don't know we're doing it.
Daniel Kahneman
One emphasis of my research has been on the question of how people spend their time. Time is the ultimate finite resource, or course, so the question of how people spend it would seem to be important.
Daniel Kahneman
If owning stocks is a long-term project for you, following their changes constantly is a very, very bad idea. It's the worst possible thing you can do, because people are so sensitive to short-term losses. If you count your money every day, you'll be miserable.
Daniel Kahneman
It's not a case of: 'Read this book and then you'll think differently. I've written this book, and I don't think differently.
Daniel Kahneman
Negotiations over a shrinking pie are especially difficult because they require an allocation of losses. People tend to be much more easygoing when they bargain over an expanding pie.
Daniel Kahneman
Friends are sometimes a big help when they share your feelings. In the context of decisions, the friends who will serve you best are those who understand your feelings but are not overly impressed by them.
Daniel Kahneman
When you analyze happiness, it turns out that the way you spend your time is extremely important.
Daniel Kahneman
We're blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We're not designed to know how little we know.
Daniel Kahneman
All of us roughly know what memory is. I mean, memory is sort of the storage of the past. It's the storage of our personal experiences. It's a very big deal.
Daniel Kahneman
So your emotional state really has a lot to do with what you're thinking about and what you're paying attention to.
Daniel Kahneman
Most of the time, we think fast. And most of the time we're really expert at what we're doing, and most of the time, what we do is right.
Daniel Kahneman
The idea that you can ask one question and it makes the point – well, that wasn't how psychology was done at the time.
Daniel Kahneman
I enjoy being active, but I look forward to the day when I can retire to the Internet.
Daniel Kahneman
It's nonsense to say money doesn't buy happiness, but people exaggerate the extent to which more money can buy more happiness.
Daniel Kahneman
We know that the French are very different from the Americans in their satisfaction with life. They're much less satisfied. Americans are pretty high up there, while the French are quite low – the world champions in life satisfaction are actually the Danes.
Daniel Kahneman
The average investor's return is significantly lower than market indices due primarily to market timing.
Daniel Kahneman
In a rising market, enough of your bad ideas will pay off so that you'll never learn that you should have fewer ideas.
Daniel Kahneman
The experiencing self lives its life continuously. It has moments of experience, one after the other.
Daniel Kahneman
I have always emphasized the willingness to discard.
Through some combination of culture and biology, our minds are intuitively receptive to religion.
Daniel Kahneman
Mental effort, I would argue, is relatively rare. Most of the time we coast.
Daniel Kahneman
Slow thinking has the feeling of something you do. It's deliberate.
Adaptation seems to be, to a substantial extent, a process of reallocating your attention.
Daniel Kahneman
If people are failing, they look inept. If people are succeeding, they look strong and good and competent. That's the 'halo effect.' Your first impression of a thing sets up your subsequent beliefs. If the company looks inept to you, you may assume everything else they do is inept.
Daniel Kahneman
If individuals are rational, there is no need to protect them against their own choices.
Daniel Kahneman
People should be conscious of the large contribution made by anything that gets people together easily in the reduction of loneliness and emotional well-being.
Daniel Kahneman
Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.
Daniel Kahneman
The concept of happiness has to be reorganised.
Nothing in life is quite as important as you think it is while you're thinking about it.
Daniel Kahneman
We have no reason to expect the quality of intuition to improve with the importance of the problem. Perhaps the contrary: high-stake problems are likely to involve powerful emotions and strong impulses to action.
Daniel Kahneman
Poverty is clearly one source of emotional suffering, but there are others, like loneliness. A policy to reduce the loneliness of the elderly would certainly reduce suffering.
Daniel Kahneman
People talk of the new economy and of reinventing themselves in the workplace, and in that sense most of us are less secure.
Daniel Kahneman
Many ideas happen to us. We have intuition, we have feeling, we have emotion, all of that happens, we don't decide to do it. We don't control it.
Daniel Kahneman
It's very easy for trusted companies to mislead naive customers, and life insurance companies are trusted.
Daniel Kahneman
For many people, commuting is the worst part of the day, and policies that can make commuting shorter and more convenient would be a straightforward way to reduce minor but widespread suffering.
Daniel Kahneman
The experiencing self lives in the moment; it is the one that answers the question, 'Does it hurt?' or 'What were you thinking about just now?' The remembering self is the one that answers questions about the overall evaluation of episodes or periods of one's life, such as a stay in the hospital or the years since one left college.
Daniel Kahneman
Hindsight bias makes surprises vanish.
I'm not a great believer in self-help.
Psychologists really aim to be scientists, white-coat stuff, with elaborate statistics, running experiments.
Daniel Kahneman
Intuitive diagnosis is reliable when people have a lot of relevant feedback. But people are very often willing to make intuitive diagnoses even when they're very likely to be wrong.
Daniel Kahneman
Alternative descriptions of the same reality evoke different emotions and different associations.
Daniel Kahneman
People's mood is really determined primarily by their genetic make-up and personality, and in the second place by their immediate context, and only in the third and fourth place by worries and concerns and other things like that.
Daniel Kahneman
If you think in terms of major losses, because losses loom much larger than gains – that's a very well-established finding – you tend to be very risk-averse. When you think in terms of wealth, you tend to be much less risk-averse.
Daniel Kahneman
When you look at the books about well-being, you see one word – it's happiness. People do not distinguish.
Daniel Kahneman
True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.
Daniel Kahneman
Experienced happiness refers to your feelings, to how happy you are as you live your life. In contrast, the satisfaction of the remembering self refers to your feelings when you think about your life.
Daniel Kahneman
The planning fallacy is that you make a plan, which is usually a best-case scenario. Then you assume that the outcome will follow your plan, even when you should know better.
Daniel Kahneman
When people evaluate their life, they compare themselves to a standard of what a successful life is, and it turns out that standard tends to be universal: People in Togo and Denmark have the same idea of what a good life is, and a lot of that has to do with money and material prosperity.
Daniel Kahneman
There are domains in which expertise is not possible. Stock picking is a good example. And in long-term political strategic forecasting, it's been shown that experts are just not better than a dice-throwing monkey.
Daniel Kahneman
Political columnists and sports pundits are rewarded for being overconfident.
Daniel Kahneman
Divorced women, compared to married women, are less satisfied with their lives, which is not surprising. But they're actually more cheerful, when you look at the average mood they're in in the course of the day.
Daniel Kahneman
People are very complex. And for a psychologist, you get fascinated by the complexity of human beings, and that is what I have lived with, you know, in my career all of my life, is the complexity of human beings.
Daniel Kahneman
It's a wonderful thing to be optimistic. It keeps you healthy and it keeps you resilient.
Daniel Kahneman
We think, each of us, that we're much more rational than we are. And we think that we make our decisions because we have good reasons to make them. Even when it's the other way around. We believe in the reasons, because we've already made the decision.
Daniel Kahneman
Most successful pundits are selected for being opinionated, because it's interesting, and the penalties for incorrect predictions are negligible. You can make predictions, and a year later people won't remember them.
Daniel Kahneman
By their very nature, heuristic shortcuts will produce biases, and that is true for both humans and artificial intelligence, but the heuristics of AI are not necessarily the human ones.
Daniel Kahneman
It doesn't take many observations to think you've spotted a trend, and it's probably not a trend at all.
Daniel Kahneman
We don't see very far in the future, we are very focused on one idea at a time, one problem at a time, and all these are incompatible with rationality as economic theory assumes it.
Daniel Kahneman
There's a tendency to look at investments in isolation. Investors focus on the risk of individual securities.
Daniel Kahneman
People like leaders who look like they are dominant, optimistic, friendly to their friends, and quick on the trigger when it comes to enemies. They like boldness and despise the appearance of timidity and protracted doubt.
Daniel Kahneman
We're generally overconfident in our opinions and our impressions and judgments.
Daniel Kahneman
The brains of humans contain a mechanism that is designed to give priority to bad news.
Daniel Kahneman
We have associations to things. We have, you know, we have associations to tables and to – and to dogs and to cats and to Harvard professors, and that's the way the mind works. It's an association machine.
Daniel Kahneman
Optimistic people play a disproportionate role in shaping our lives. Their decisions make a difference; they are inventors, entrepreneurs, political and military leaders – not average people. They got to where they are by seeking challenges and taking risks.
Daniel Kahneman
Doubting what you see is a very odd experience. And doubting what you remember is a little less odd than doubting what you see. But it's also a pretty odd experience, because some memories come with a very compelling sense of truth about them, and that happens to be the case even for memories that are not true.
Daniel Kahneman
Clearly, the decision-making that we rely on in society is fallible. It's highly fallible, and we should know that.
Daniel Kahneman
There is a huge wave of interest in happiness among researchers. There is a lot of happiness coaching. Everybody would like to make people happier.
Daniel Kahneman
Most of the moments of our life – and I calculated, you know, the psychological present is said to be about three seconds long; that means that, you know, in a life there are about 600 million of them; in a month, there are about 600,000 – most of them don't leave a trace.
Daniel Kahneman
Yes, there is a burden of financial insecurity. I don't think you find it in mood. Income is correlated with life satisfaction, so maybe you do find it in life satisfaction. You don't find it in mood, and I think it is very important.
Daniel Kahneman
Happiness is determined by factors like your health, your family relationships and friendships, and above all by feeling that you are in control of how you spend your time.
Daniel Kahneman
If you're going to be unreligious, it's likely going to be due to reflecting on it and finding some things that are hard to believe.
Daniel Kahneman
It was always assumed I would be a professor. I grew up thinking it.
You know, the standard state for people is 'mildly pleasant.' Negative emotions are quite rare, and extremely positive emotions are rare. But people are mildly pleased most of the time, they're mildly tired a lot of the time, and they wish they were somewhere else a substantial part of the time – but mostly they're mildly pleased.
Daniel Kahneman
Most people are highly optimistic most of the time.
People are really happier with friends than they are with their families or their spouse or their child.
Daniel Kahneman
I think one of the major results of the psychology of decision making is that people's attitudes and feelings about losses and gains are really not symmetric. So we really feel more pain when we lose $10,000 than we feel pleasure when we get $10,000.
Daniel Kahneman
Employers who violate rules of fairness are punished by reduced productivity, and merchants who follow unfair pricing policies can expect to lose sales.
Daniel Kahneman
My interest in well-being evolved from my interest in decision making – from raising the question of whether people know what they will want in the future and whether the things that people want for themselves will make them happy.
Daniel Kahneman
Human beings cannot comprehend very large or very small numbers. It would be useful for us to acknowledge that fact.
Daniel Kahneman
There's a very good reason for why economics developed the way it did, and that is that in many situations, the assumption that people will exploit the opportunities available to them is very plausible, and it simplifies the analysis of how markets will behave.
Daniel Kahneman
Although professionals are able to extract a considerable amount of wealth from amateurs, few stock pickers, if any, have the skill needed to beat the market consistently, year after year.
Daniel Kahneman
Suppose you like someone very much. Then, by a familiar halo effect, you will also be prone to believe many good things about that person – you will be biased in their favor. Most of us like ourselves very much, and that suffices to explain self-assessments that are biased in a particular direction.
Daniel Kahneman
My impression is that the elimination of memories greatly reduces the value of the experience.
Daniel Kahneman
It is the consistency of the information that matters for a good story, not its completeness. Indeed, you will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit everything you know into a coherent pattern.
Daniel Kahneman
Organizations may be better able to tame optimism than individuals are.
There's a lot of randomness in the decisions that people make.
We have a very narrow view of what is going on.
The effort invested in 'getting it right' should be commensurate with the importance of the decision.
Daniel Kahneman
We don't only tell stories when we set out to tell stories, our memory tells us stories. That is, what we get to keep from our experiences is a story.
Daniel Kahneman
It's clear that policymakers and economists are going to be interested in the measurement of well-being primarily as it correlates with health; they also want to know whether researchers can validate subjective responses with physiological indices.
Daniel Kahneman
Except for some effects that I attribute mostly to age, my intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions, and the planning fallacy as it was before I made a study of these issues.
Daniel Kahneman
One thing we have lost, that we had in the past, is a sense of progress, that things are getting better. There is a sense of volatility, but not of progress.
Daniel Kahneman
There is research on the effects of 9/11, and you know, compared to the enormity of it, it didn't have a huge effect on people's mood. They were going about their business, mostly.
Daniel Kahneman
It's very difficult to distinguish between what a person believes and what they say they believe.
Daniel Kahneman
Nobody would say, 'I'm voting for this guy because he's got the stronger chin,' but that, in fact, is partly what happens.
Daniel Kahneman
Banks are run by executives, and executives protect themselves, and that does not always mean that banks are going to behave rationally.
Daniel Kahneman
Optimism is normal, but some fortunate people are more optimistic than the rest of us. If you are genetically endowed with an optimistic bias, you hardly need to be told that you are a lucky person – you already feel fortunate.
Daniel Kahneman
All of us would be better investors if we just made fewer decisions.
Economists think about what people ought to do. Psychologists watch what they actually do.
Daniel Kahneman
I used to hold a unitary view, in which I proposed that only experienced happiness matters, and that life satisfaction is a fallible estimate of true happiness.
Daniel Kahneman
Courage is willingness to take the risk once you know the odds. Optimistic overconfidence means you are taking the risk because you don't know the odds. It's a big difference.
Daniel Kahneman
People just hate the idea of losing. Any loss, even a small one, is just so terrible to contemplate that they compensate by buying insurance, including totally absurd policies like air travel.
Daniel Kahneman
In essence, the optimistic style involves taking credit for successes but little blame for failures.
Daniel Kahneman
After a crisis we tell ourselves we understand why it happened and maintain the illusion that the world is understandable. In fact, we should accept the world is incomprehensible much of the time.
Daniel Kahneman
Policy makers, like most people, normally feel that they already know all the psychology and all the sociology they are likely to need for their decisions. I don't think they are right, but that's the way it is.
Daniel Kahneman
If people do not know what is going to make them better off or give them pleasure, then the idea that you can trust people to do what will give them pleasure becomes questionable.
Daniel Kahneman
When people talk of the economy being strong, they don't seem to feel that they, too, are better off.
Daniel Kahneman
We're beautiful devices. The devices work well; we're all experts in what we do. But when the mechanism fails, those failures can tell you a lot about how the mind works.
Daniel Kahneman
I would not advise people to buy a car or house without making a list. You will probably improve your intuitions by making a list and then sleeping on it.
Daniel Kahneman
People who know math understand what other mortals understand, but other mortals do not understand them. This asymmetry gives them a presumption of superior ability.
Daniel Kahneman
If there is time to reflect, slowing down is likely to be a good idea.
You're surprised by something, but you don't really know what surprised you; you recognize someone, but you don't really know what cues cause you to recognize that person.
Daniel Kahneman
We think of our future as anticipated memories.
An investment said to have an 80% chance of success sounds far more attractive than one with a 20% chance of failure. The mind can't easily recognize that they are the same.
Daniel Kahneman